The Countess and The Guru

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 25 Mar 2005 13:00:00 GMT
# Ted Rall - A Texas Man's Fight to Let 100,000 Iraqis Die - wonderful comic satire, conflating Terry Schiavo with the war on Iraq. [claire]

# Jeff Cooper's Commentaries - March 2005: Winterset `05 - "digital" weather at Gunsite; daughter Lindy off to Africa with her Steyr Scout; rule 3 is being observed by oru troops in the field; comments on sights that shine a red dot on the target; comments on handling John Gannaway's 700 Nitro Express rifle; O.J., Lon Horichi, and Vince Foster; on the shooting in the Atlanta courtroom: "The one thing that is clear about this whole sorry business is that you cannot pass laws or regulations in response to a problem which is best met by common sense."; on 223 and 9mm in Iraq; the "kill-badge"; "hot range" considered good training for rule 1; on "accessorizing" and the "swagger stick"; the Countess and the Guru; tactical everything; "National Review opines that the NRA won the election"; "Don't run a roadblock!"; the distress of citizens simply surrendering in the facee of a threat; adding the adventure to an African hunt; kudo to the 1903 Springfield rifle; traditional slim-line Mannlicher action handle preferred to pingpong-ball; memories of high school ROTC; stemming the tide in the decline of the language; Islamic Commission of Spain issued fatwa against Osama bin Laden; Congressional Medal of Honor should free the holder from federal income tax.

As a case in point, we recall the tale of Sunday morning in Honolulu December 7th. A senior officer was being driven back to duty station in a great hurry while the shooting was still going on. When his limousine, bearing stars and insignia, was flagged down, the door was opened. Whereupon the general ordered the driver to drive on. The sentry leaned through the open door and said, "Excuse me, sir. I'm new at this. Whom do I shoot, you or the driver?"

# John R. Lott Jr. at National Review - Disarming Facts: The road to bad laws is paved with good intentions. - commentary on the three recent mass murders. More of the same can be prevented by encouraging the law-abiding to arm themselves, always and everywhere. But the Brady Bunch won't ever get that message. They're morally and intellectually incapable of understanding it. [scopeny]

# Steve Perry at City Pages - The Undoing of America - an interview with Gore Vidal. [warblogging]

City Pages: I'll start with the broadest of questions: Why are we in Iraq, and what are our prospects there at this point?

Gore Vidal: Well, let us say that the old American republic is well and truly dead. The institutions that we thought were eternal proved not to be. And that goes for the three departments of government, and it also goes for the Bill of Rights. So we're in uncharted territory. We're governed by public relations. Very little information gets to the people, thanks to the corruption and/or ineptitude of the media. Just look at this bankruptcy thing that went through--everybody in debt to credit cards, which is apparently 90 percent of the country, is in deep trouble. So the people are uninformed about what's being done in their name.


CP: Has the media played a role in transforming citizens into spectators of this process?

Vidal: Well, they have been transformed, by design, by corporate America, aided by the media, which belongs to corporate America. They are no longer citizens. They are hardly voters. They are consumers, and they consume those things which are advertised on television. They are made to sound like happy consumers. Listen to TV advertising: This one says, "I had this terrible pain, but when I put on Kool-Aid, I found relief overnight. You must try it too." All we do is hear about little cures for little pains. Nothing important gets said. There used to be all those talk shows back in the '50s and '60s, when I was on television a great deal. People would talk about many important things, and you had some very good talkers. They're not allowed on now. Or they're set loose in the Fox Zoo, in which you have a number of people who pretend to be journalists but are really like animals. Each one has his own noise--there's the donkey who brays, there's the pig who squeals. Each one is a different animal in a zoo, making a characteristic noise. The result is chaos, which is what is intended. They don't want the people to know anything, and the people don't.


CP: You wrote at the end of a 2002 essay that so-called inalienable rights, once alienated, are often lost forever. Can you describe what's changed about America during the Bush years that represent permanent, or at least long-term, legacies that will survive Bush?

Vidal: Well, the Congress has ceded--which it cannot do--but it has ceded its power to declare war. That is written in the Constitution. It's the most important thing in the Constitution, ultimately. And having ceded that to the Executive Branch, he can declare war whenever he finds terrorism. Now, terrorism is a wonderful invention because it doesn't mean anything. It's an abstract noun. You can't have a war against an abstract noun; it's like having a war against dandruff. It's meaningless.

But you can terrify people. The art of government now, the art of control as practiced by the current junta, is: Keep the people frightened. It's exactly what Adolf Hitler and his gang did. Keep them frightened: The Russians are coming. The Poles are killing Germans who live within the borders of Poland. The Czechs are doing the same thing in the Sudetenland. These are evil people. We must go after them. We must save our kin.


I would say that he [President Bush] is undisturbed by these things. His is a mind totally lacking in culture of any kind. I'm not talking about highbrow culture, just knowledge of the American past, and our institutions. He's got rid of due process of law, which is what the United States is based upon. Once you can send somebody off and put them in the brig of a ship in Charleston Harbor and hold them as long as you like uncharged, you have destroyed the United States and its Constitution. He has done those things.


CP: Is there any winning back some semblance of the older republic at this point?

Vidal: You have to have people who want it, and I can't find many people who do.

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